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The Prince and the Pauper

by Mark Twain

previous: NOTES to Chapter XXXIII.


One hears much about the 'hideous Blue Laws of Connecticut,' and is accustomed to shudder piously when they are mentioned. There are people in America - and even in England! - who imagine that they were a very monument of malignity, pitilessness, and inhumanity; whereas in reality they were about the first SWEEPING DEPARTURE FROM JUDICIAL ATROCITY which the 'civilised' world had seen. This humane and kindly Blue Law Code, of two hundred and forty years ago, stands all by itself, with ages of bloody law on the further side of it, and a century and three-quarters of bloody English law on THIS side of it.

There has never been a time - under the Blue Laws or any other-when above FOURTEEN crimes were punishable by death in Connecticut. But in England, within the memory of men who are still hale in body and mind, TWO HUNDRED AND TWENTY-THREE crimes were punishable by death! {10} These facts are worth knowing - and worth thinking about, too.

The End.

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